Archive for May 7th, 2020

May 7, 2020

Mac Racken bridge, Mayenne!

Let me take you back to my belle France! We usually passed by many towns in our road warrior trip in my France. We come to see the hugely popular, the architecturally and historically beautiful and old, and do spent some off the beaten paths. However, seldom we see moving spots that marked our trip, this is the case of Mayenne in the department of Mayenne no 53 in the Pays de la Loire region.

There are three bridges over the Mayenne river. The pont Mac-Racken from the 19C today is the route I take the N12 to drive into Paris toll free; the bridge was done in 1834 first naming itself Ambroise de Loré, then Orléans ,Caisse d’Epargne and finally Mac Racken honouring the sacrifice of this American soldier that allow the passage of the Weaver group 90th division to cross the river in WWII to free the left bank in June 5 1944; there is a commemorating plaque there. In memoriam , the bridge is named after him.


we saw flooding Mayenne river

I like to tell you about the pont Mac Racken of Mayenne and give credit to whom credit is deservingly so.

The construction of the now call Mac-Racken Bridge began on May 15, 1824. Originally the Ambroise-de-Loré bridge, the structure will successively take the names of Pont d’Orléans, Petit Pont, Caisse de Épargne bridge and then Mac-Racken bridge The current name of the bridge is a tribute to Sergeant James Mac-Racken who, on the night of August 5, 1944, defused the 125 kg and 15 cases of dynamite that the Nazis had placed on deck. Of the three bridges that existed at the time in the city, it will be the only one that will remain after the war. On August 5, 1946, a commemorative stele bearing the inscription HERE TO SAVE THIS BRIDGE JAMES MAC RACKEN OF THE 315th BON, U.S.A. SACRIFICIA ON AUGUST 5, 1944 is posed


His name was James Dougal Mac Racken, ASN 34 881 595 – Compagny A – 315th The Enginer Combat Battalion, 90th infantry division. This American soldier sacrificed himself to defend a bridge in Mayenne, which now bears his name, on August 5, 1944.

Born June 1, 1916 in Red Spring, North Carolina ; USA, he was 28 when he landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944. His infantry division, the 90th, was responsible for liberating Mayenne. Two out of three bridges have already been destroyed, only that of the Caisse d’Epargne (savings bank) can allow a rapid advance of the Americans. On the night of August 5, 1944, his team specializing in mine clearance had the mission of cutting the conductors, connected to a 125-kilogram bomb and 15 cases of dynamite, placed on deck by the Nazis.


This American soldier sacrificed himself to save the bridge of the Caisse d’Epargne and thus allow his comrades to liberate the city of Mayenne. Protected by two tanks, the deminers progress. Sergeant Mac Racken leaps onto the deck, uncovered, and cuts the wires. He was shot by Nazis skirmishers and machine gunners, positioned on rue Roullois. The Weaver group of the 90th division can cross the bridge. From 5h30, the progress of the Americans is general. Mayenne is conquered, then liberated.


When he died, James Mac Racken left behind a wife, Maggie, and a three-year-old daughter, Myrtis. For Christmas, the city will offer little Myrtis a doll. On each anniversary date, the city of Mayenne invites Maggie Mac Racken to attend the celebrations. But her finances did not allow her to cross the Atlantic. A North Carolina newspaper is interested in this story. Readers quickly mobilized and raised more than $ 1,500 to help the family travel to France. The information is relayed by the national branch of the newspaper, and everything is accelerating. In July 1961, seventeen years after the liberation of Mayenne, the widow Mac Racken finally went to the place of sacrifice of her husband. Amén RIP Soldier France does not forget.

There is no specific webpage for this heroic act so will give the tourist sites of  Mayenne.

The city of Mayenne on moving about town in French: City of Mayenne on moving about

The Mayenne dept 53 on the local area of Mayenne Haute Mayenne in French: Mayenne dept 53 on Mayenne Upper

The local Haute Mayenne or upper tourist office on Mayenne in English: Haute Mayenne tourist office on Mayenne

And there you go folks, nice history nice story and one not to be forgotten by all those who cherish freedom. Mayenne remembers you and so do we, the French. Thank you soldier RIP.

And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

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May 7, 2020

Morretes, Paranà, Brazil!!!

So looking in my vault for things to write and bring to life in my blog as memory lane I dig up way south into the beautiful Brazil to find this gem .Now I have written several post on Brazil and told you lived there, worked there, and speak the language but always leave something out. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on Morretes , a town in the State of Paranà in south Brazil. One for the off the beaten path in Brazil!

The name Morretes is a geographical reference to the Morros (Portuguese for “Hills”) that surround the city. Founded in 1721 on the banks of the Nhundiaquara river , this calm and collected colonial town rests on an emerald-green plain at the foot of the Serra do Mar.  A tour of Morretes reveals a compact community of cobblestoned walkways running along the Nhundiaquara River, as well as a series of attractive colonial buildings from the 18C and 19C.

Some of the things to see here that I took a walk by are

Saint Benedict’s Church (Igreja de São Benedito).  The Church of the brotherhood of São Benedito was founded in Morretes in 1760 and brought together blacks, slaves and free people, who because of their devotions want to belong to it without distinction of sex or age , according to its statute. Almost all the oldest documents on the church was lost in a flood in the 60s. The church has a nave, tower and chancel. .The peculiarity by many visitors is that each time we go by, the church is closed!


Old Bridge (Ponte Velha).  Its structure of steel brings an old and glamorous aspect making it even more attractive. The bridge is used to pass over the Nhundiaquara river and gives access to restaurants, that I patronise and told you in my previous posts. Pedestrians share the space with cars, considering that there is just one street band. Therefore, one way car or person lol!



The one webpage in Portuguese with plenty of information on Morretes is here: Tourist office of Paranà state on Morretes

A very pleasant town with lots of traditions, and a beautiful train ride as well which I took once and the rest of the times by car as I was living in Curitiba. Hope you like the post and Morretes.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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